Trace Adkins, "Cowboy's Back in Town"

The country veteran's first album for Toby Keith's Show Dog label seems well-suited to Keith's manly-man worldview. After offering up "Hold My Beer" and "This Ain't No Love Song," Trace Adkins closes "Cowboy's Back in Town" with a plain-talking ditty called "Whoop a Man's Ass," in which he admits that the high road isn't always his preferred route. Truth be told, Adkins' ninth studio disc contains its fair share of thoughtful sensitivity, too-it's demonstrated in "Still Love You," where the former "Celebrity Apprentice" contestant describes a devotion longer-lived than the moon or the ocean, and "Break Her Fall," a finely observed account of an angel's helpless attraction to "a long-haired country boy." (Think "Wings of Desire" crossed with "Splash.") The album's liveliest cut is the delightfully titled "Ala-Freakin-Bama," which recalls the hard-rocking boisterousness of Big & Rich. "I grew up on Skynyrd, and I'm a Bear Bryant fan," Adkins sings. Yep, sounds about right.